©By Mary Schoessler, Co- Founder, SacredJoy™ [email protected]; www.facebook.com/liveinjoyallways

I’m a fabulous bag lady. Actually, quite a joyful one. Oversized handbags, totes, clutches, assorted briefcases, carry-ons, recycling grocery and gift bags — I have no shortage of bags. For years I seldom carried a purse; purses were lipstick/ID carrying beaded accessories used on special evenings or necessary travel tools. I shoved everything into an overstuffed briefcase or bulging pockets. Often, I dumped my hand-carried items onto a pile some place upon arrival. During those days, errand running generated frequent anxiety attacks from misplaced car keys and billfolds.

When I started using a handbag, thanks to cell phones and my sister’s insistence that dumping more than three things onto a table was unacceptable, I carried the usual stress-reducing survival tools to get me through the day: money, Sudafed, phone, nail file, chocolate, kid calmers, mints, makeup and protein bars. There I was, today’s modern woman carrying both a briefcase and a purse, definitely a milestone in becoming a fully-grown woman. Who was I kidding? An extra bag just meant more stuff loading me down. I was already burdened with hauling too much crap around. All my internal crap was now manifesting itself as external baggage.

During that time, my heart, mind and soul were voracious hoarders. Every cellular crevice of my being was maxed out to capacity, stockpiling stress, fearful that calm happiness could threaten my very existence at any given moment. My days were preoccupied with completing a week’s worth of to-do tasks in a day, saying yes to every single request, barely thinking about spirituality unless something snagged my heart during a theatre performance, movie or museum outing, sometimes a hospital visit. I could juggle three perfectionist balls for every good-enough one that fell to the floor. The queen of stretching more into most — she was me.

And then the universe threw me down, cracked me open and replaced my baggage with new luggage. Just to make sure I used it, I had to unpack after two lost jobs, a few other unplanned life events and a humbling tumbling into my Who Am I? spiritual self. I was forced into taking a little trip, you might know the journey: transition to transformation, first stop is at the Wake Up Call port.

Big shifts required a heave-ho to the drama trauma backpack containing heavy angst, doubt, what-if worries, negative, limiting beliefs and low self esteem. I finally arrived at transformation a few years later, carrying beautiful new bags filled with light and love joy jewels vs. life-long baggage.

Today, I have a bag for every occasion. The bags may vary, the weight may shift, but the contents are always the same. I never leave my house without my joy jewels; contemplation, compassion, generosity, gratitude and grace tucked in whatever bag I’m carrying. Humor is my handle. My bags brim over with happiness, positive intention and joy, my new currency. The way I spend and give that currency away, you’d think I was the wealthiest woman on earth! I kind of am.

Looking for new currency? The kind that generates greater self worth, brings intrinsic worth to others and fills everyone’s bags with more joy jewels, I highly recommend you:

· Be in Contemplation to connect with your heart’s desires,

· See opportunities to bring greater Compassion to yourself and others,

· Do with Generosity, purpose and positive intention,

· Give with Gratitude for what you have received and will return to others, including Mother Earth, and

· Live in a state of Grace, one that actualizes your values and allows others the space to live their own.

Do my handles break sometimes? Yup. Do I drop or misplace my bags on occasion? Yes. Do they tear, fall apart or have to be replaced? Definitely. They’re manmade, so of course they’re not going to be perfect or last forever. Just like me. One thing I can count on, when repaired or replaced, the same amount of joy and happiness fills them, simply bedazzled with Contemplation, Compassion, Generosity, Gratitude and Grace jewels. Those are some great designer bags, don’t you think? Consider getting a few for yourself. Haut Couture at its finest!

Originally published at medium.com